As we were leaving Italy to come here in January 2004, many people told us about the Florida weather. We were to expect mainly mild winters that resembled an Italian spring. They warned us about hurricane season and gave us many tips for preparing for them. But mostly people told us of the typical summer climate: hot and steamy with lots of rain and summer storms.
So as summer 2004 approached I mentally prepared myself for hot steamy mornings followed by afternoon summer storms, and clear evenings. I also listened to advise that was given on various TV channels and in the newspaper, and stocked up on water, canned food, and batteries in case of hurricanes. Then I hoped for the best because my husband was deployed!
Well the hot and steamy arrived, and sometimes we had afternoon rain. Some of the rain was pretty torrential and I know that certain areas suffered flooding. Occasionally there were some crazy storms and we even rode the edge of a few hurricanes. But we never really experienced the “typical Florida summer weather” – until this year.
I have never sat through, driven through, huddled in my living room through such storms as we have had this summer. We have had some real humdingers and they have been almost daily. We’ve had a few patches of just really beautiful days in between, but for the most part it’s been sunshine in the morning, cloud build up around lunch time, and skies opening up by early afternoon.
Today was probably the worst storm yet in my opinion. The sky slowly blackened, the wind picked up, and with a sudden explosion lightning lit up the sky and the thunder crashed in quick succession. Almost immediately there was torrential rain, so fast, so heavy I could hardly make out the back yard fence. It was scary and dramatic and reminded me of another storm that I experienced in Italy in the late summer of 1980. A storm so violent that I wrote this poem.
A distant rumbling from a blackened sky,
As though some celestial beast of prey
Was growling its deep-throated complaint
From behind iron bars.
Then came a sudden daylight burst of light,
And the heaven-bound lion roared its angry disapproval.
Without warning giant drops of heavy water
Cascaded from the skies,
Tumbling helter-skelter in their haste
To quench the parched ground.
So thick and fast they chased each other to the earth
A never-ending curtain stretched from all eternity.
Then, much later, with a final bellow of rage
And one last blinding flash of vivid blue,
The beast, its anger fully spent
Slinked belly low to a corner of the skies,
Leaving a sweet soft silence hanging in the air.